The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

June 29, 2012

Disappointed in court ruling

— Like many Americans, we were disappointed but not surprised that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Thursday that the 2010 national health care overhaul is perfectly acceptable under the Constitution.

We see the law as a blow to personal liberty — the first time the federal government has ever required people to buy a certain product — but more than that, we see the law as fundamentally flawed.

Health care is too expensive today. That’s the main problem that prevents people from accessing the health care system, and the 2010 reforms only addressed the access side of the equation without doing enough to bring down the outrageous costs, which is where the problem started in the first place.

Lowering costs in the private health care market would naturally improve access to care. More people would be able to afford it. Instead, the law focuses on forcing insurance companies to provide services for “free” when everyone knows there is no such thing. Someone has to pay for the doctors and nurses to provide the services, along with all the costs for medical space and supplies. Giving people “free” coverage is incredibly expensive to taxpayers and insurance providers, which is why costs will continue to rise like they always have.

The sad thing is that Washington seems paralyzed and unable to find a better solution.

We’re quick to admit that the Democrats’ health care overhaul is a bad one, but Republicans aren’t presenting a better option. Their strategy seems to be to stall, delay and destroy rather than to come up with a constructive plan that fixes a seriously broken health care system.

We need health-care reform. We just think Obamacare is the wrong kind of reform.

Very soon, businesses everywhere are going to be forced to buy health insurance for their employees. While that sounds good for uninsured people, think about how much money businesses are going to have to cut from their budgets to pay those costs. It’s going to be a tremendous expense for many businesses, and those expenses will have to be paid from somewhere — including laying off employees and delaying expansion plans in some cases — which is a terrible idea at any time, much less when the nation is teetering with a tepid economic recovery.

For businesses to grow, they need more profitability and a stable environment that makes them comfortable investing in new employees, real estate and equipment. Health care reform is going to add expenses for businesses and create uncertainty about how high those expenses are going to climb in the future, which is a recipe for more economic malaise.

Thursday’s ruling sets the stage for a presidential election that will become a referendum on health reform. We hope Obamacare gets scrapped this fall, but we also hope a better solution emerges that focuses on reducing the cost of health care.

Reform needs to be first and foremost about lowering the cost of care, something that will improve access to doctors, maintain personal liberty and lower business expenses. That’s the kind of reform that will help America grow.